Andrew Petter

President, Simon Fraser University

Andrew Petter

Andrew Petter,
President, Simon Fraser University

Andrew Petter brings to the presidency of SFU a life-long commitment to education and extensive experience as a university professor, constitutional scholar and academic administrator. 

Petter recently completed a term as longest serving dean of the University of Victoria’s highly regarded Faculty of Law where he oversaw establishment of an innovative new graduate law program, pioneered significant Aboriginal initiatives, and secured funding for major facilities upgrades.    

Petter was born and raised in Victoria (Oak Bay). His family moved to Nelson, where he graduated from L.V. Rogers secondary school as class valedictorian.

His post-secondary studies were at Nelson’s former Notre Dame University (where his father was a professor) and he did a stint in the early 1970s as CKKC Radio’s open-line show host. There, he got a first-hand taste of politics interviewing the likes of newly elected premier Dave Barrett and former premier W.A.C. Bennett.

Graduating from UVic Law in 1981, he received the Law Society of BC Gold Medal for finishing top in his class, and went on to earn an LL.M (Public Law) with first-class honours from Cambridge University.  

He briefly practised law in Saskatchewan before becoming an assistant professor at Osgoode Hall Law School (York University) in 1984. He joined the UVic Faculty of Law in 1986.  He has taught and written extensively in the areas of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, and is currently a member of the B.C. and Saskatchewan law societies.

Petter taught in the UVic law faculty for five years before heeding Premier Mike Harcourt’s call to run as NDP candidate in Saanich South in the 1991 provincial election. Petter spent the next decade as an MLA and held a series of key cabinet posts.

Petter chose not to run in 2001 and instead returned to UVic to resume his teaching career. He soon filled the vacancy of acting dean of the university’s faculty of law and went on to serve as dean the first graduate of the school to serve in that position from 2002-2008.

Besides running 30 km a week, Andrew Petter spends his leisure time cycling, reading, and attending theatre, opera and movies with his life partner Maureen Maloney. His son Dylan is currently pursuing graduate studies in England.